Right, time to round up week 4 of the Pre-season. And we shall start with;
Lions @ Bills; Mostly a yawn fest. Lions running back Jerome Harrison did well, carrying 7 times for 72 yards. Mainly this was about the defense though, with the Lions putting another 5 sacks and 9 tackles for loss on their pre-season tally. The Bills has no sacks but 11 tackles for loss! A key player was linebacker Antonio Coleman who had four of those tackles for loss alone.
I noticed though that in NFL.com's highlight package, the only tackle for loss highlighted was that of Shawne Merriman, who had just the one. Coleman's achievements went unnoticed, presumably because he's not a big enough name to make it on TV. I fucking hate that. And people wonder why I hate the the NFL networks coverage and things like the Pro Bowl? 'Cos it stinks. (p.s. NFL.com, I deliberately turn the sound off and change tabs when your freakin' 30 second adverts come on, just as a point of principal). (p.s. Your video setup still sucks, probably even worse now since you made the recent changes. Get a clue).
The appropriately named Bills cornerback, Reggie Corner, also did well with 3 passes defended.
Colts @ Bengals; Blurgh boring. For me the two highlights were both on the Bengals side of the ball. Quarterback Bruce Gradkowski had a much more efficient game, throwing 14/17 for 90 yards, and the running of backs Cedric Peerman and Brian Leonard also caught the eye, combining for 21 carries, 93 tough, tough yards and a touchdown.
Ravens @ Falcons; They say God loves a trier. In that case he loves Hunter Cantwell because the guy is trying to make the Ravens nuts. 13/28 for 111 yards and an interception. Not that Falcons quarterback Josh Wilson did much better for his side, throwing 16/33 for 146 yards and 2 interceptions. At least Antone Smith gave the Falcons something to cheer about, rushing 11 times for 114 yards and a touchdown.
On defense, Ravens linebacker Josh Bynes got himself two sacks. For the Falcons, Kroy Biermann used his time productively to produce a sack and two further QB hits. Ever hear anyone talking about him? Of course not. I think he needs to change his name to something that sounds more cool and starting sucking up to Deion Sanders so he can go "Primetime". Fuck.
Cowboys @ Dolphins; You have to love poor Cowboys quarterback Stephen McGee. You throw 21/25, for 233 yards and you're sole reward for that is an interception. The footballing gods hate you Stephen. They seemed pleased with Dolphins quarterback Matt Moore though, who went 9/11 for 142 yards and a touchdown. On defense just a quick shout to Dolphins corner Will Allen, who broke up a pass in the end zone that was subsequently picked off. His reward? Getting cut. Because the Dolphins are over flowing with talent in the secondary...
Giants @ Patriots; Note to David Carr, this is why the 49ers let you go - 13/21 for 116 yards and an interception. For the Patriots, rookie QB Ryan Mallett had his chance to shine - 6/16, 57 yards. Nice. Way to shine. Giants running back Da'Rel Scott looked ok. 12 carries for 114 yards and a TD (longest run; 65 yards), plus a trick punt that he also took for a TD. That seems to be the deal with Scott, it's either boom big play or boom getting tackled for a yard.
Congratulations are in order though to Patriots receivers Brandon Tate (who was cut) and Tiquan Underwood. Tate managed to catch precisely zero of the four passes thrown his way, while Underwood managed four.... of nine. Also just general congratulations to the Giants who managed to add another 3 fumbles to their pre-season tally. I think they're up to something like seventy now in four games. For a team that supposedly fixed Tiki Barbers fumbling ways, they sure know how to not teach ball security.
At least the Giants defense was a little more productive - 8 sacks and 9 tackles for loss. That's pretty good going. The obvious standout was rookie linebacker Jacquian Williams. Having bigged him up prior to the season I was delighted to see him turn in 3 sacks. Also in the above quoted article I pushed rookie safety Tyler Sash, who also paid off the praise with 2 sacks, as did linebacker Greg Jones. So thank you to all of those players for making me look good, even though I bet future lottery winnings right now they have no clue who I am (I like the "right now", as if tomorrow they're gonna read this and e-mail me to say "hi, thanks for the support!") (firstname.lastname@example.org please keep the e-mails down to just mildly abusive).
Eagles @ Jets; Highlight of the game? I dunno, it's a toss up between the Jets only picking up 8 first downs and Jets quarterback Drew Willy sacking himself. I think on balance Willy wins it. Especially after throwing 9/17 for 109 yards and a TD. On the Eagles side, Vince Young looked impressive on his way to 15/23 for 193 yards and a TD. Well at least he did until he got injured. Mike Kafka also looked ok, 7/11, 76 yards, an interception and a major hit that took him out.
On the ground for the Eagles, rookie Dion Lewis had 15 carries for 62 yards and a TD. On defense for the Eagles rookie linebacker Brian Rolle impressed as a pass rusher, with 1.5 sacks to his credit. For the Jets, they took a shot on young linebacker Aaron Maybin, previously of the Bills. He rewarded them for their faith with 1.5 sacks to his name. They rewarded him for his efforts... but cutting him yesterday.
Buccaneers @ Redskins; The Buccaneers everybody! Quarterback Rudy Carpenter was 9/18 for 211 yards and a TD. Jonathan Crompton was 12/22 for 149 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT. Still, they looked impressive compared to their Redskins counterparts, the leader of which was John Beck - 10/21 for 108 yards and an interception.
Redskins running back Ryan Torain had a decent outing, with 17 carries for 73 yards. Receiving wise, Dante Stallworth impressed everyone with 5 catches for 80 yards and a TD. I don't think receiver Niles Paul did though - converting 7 targets into 3 catches, or Terrence Austin who caught just one of five passes. On the Buccaneers side, rookie Tight End Daniel Hardy helped himself get cut by dropping all three targets, but I think that's still harsh given his reasonable production for the team in the pre-season.
On defense, my little Buccaneers diamond in corner Anthony Gaitor came up with two tackles for loss and two passes defended. Elbert Mack and Devon Holland also shone a little, with an interception and 3 passes defended between them. Brandyn Thompson had 3 defended passes for the Redskins, and as a unit they had 5 sacks and a further 3 hits on the Buccaneers QB's.
Rams @ Jaguars; I was surprised to see Sam Bradford in the game. Still, he was there and he went 7/11 for 133 yards and a touchdown. Young quarterback Thaddeus Lewis also got his shot, throwing a relatively impressive 12/15 for 164 yards. It would be a shame for the Rams if they tried to sneak him through waivers and he got picked up. Of course surely they wouldn't try that with someone who has had obviously quite a good presea.... oh they tried it. And the Browns said thank you very much St. Louis.
The Jaguars passing game... well it stunk, so that's about normal. The great Blaine Gabbert saw some good playing time, throwing 9/18 for 132 yards. David Garrard was 1/5 for 11 yards and Luke McCown was 4/9 for 47 yards and a TD.
Both teams running games were pretty lacklustre. Deji Karim of the Jaguars was a sole bright spot with 8 carries for 58 yards. Receiving for the Rams saw rookie tight end Lance Kendricks catch 3 passes for 73 yards and a TD. I had higher hopes for Greg Salas, who caught just 2 of 5 passes for 23 yards. For the Jaguars, Jamar Newsome had 4 catches for 83 yards. But the wooden spoon goes to Dontrelle Inman of the Jaguars, who caught just 1 of 5 passes.
Both defenses were pretty quiet, with the exception of Jaguars defensive tackle Nate Collins who recorded 2 sacks, a further two tackles for loss and another QB hit. Not a bad days work I think.
Browns @ Bears; Jarrett Brown had another ok game at QB for the Browns - 10/15 for 92 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 interception. For the Bears, Caleb Haine was 7/10 for 83 yards and a TD, while rookie Nathan Enderle continues to make me look like a dick for backing him, throwing 6/13 for 67 yards. On the ground it was Bears running back Robert Hughes who made the biggest impression, with 16 carries for 69 yards and 2 touchdowns.
On defense, Browns linebacker Auston English came up good with two sacks, as did tackle Scott Paxson. Bears defensive end Nick Reed was his sides standout, with a sack, another tackle for loss and two passes defended. For an end that's pretty good.
Chiefs @ Packers; First off, I was surprised to see both Aaron Rodgers and Matt Cassel in this game. I have to say, I'm not sure I'd want to risk my starting quarterback like a number of teams have, just to play one series in the final pre-season game! Cassel actually did well, 15/17 for 129 yards and a TD. Tyler Palko less so, with 18/29 for 163 yards, 1 TD and 2 INT's. Still, that was a hell of a lot better than the Packers. Back up Matt Flynn was 2/10 for 12 yards and a pick. Graham Harrell was the leader with 3/5 for 21 yards. Yep, it was that bad.
On the ground it was just as bad. The only real notable was Packers running back Ryan Grant who had 4 carries for 31 yards. Receiving wise, all eyes were on Chiefs receiver Dwayne Bowe, another player who I don't understand playing for as long as he did. He finished with 8 catches for 85 yards, a touchdown and a fortuitous fumble that went out of bounds. Rookie Tori Gurley caught 2 of 5 for the Packers, making 12 yards. Overall the Chiefs had four fumbles to the Packers five.
On defense there were no real standouts, except maybe Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher with two tackles for loss and Packers linebacker Vic So'oto who had 1.5 sacks and returned an interception 33 yards for a touchdown.
Texans @ Vikings; I think Texans Head Coach Gary Kubiak is sitting in an office somewhere, pouring himself a strong drink and hoping beyond hope that this game is not a symptom of the season ahead. 28-0. That's a butt whopping.
Quarterback T.J. Yates managed just 6/13 for 77 yards and an interception. Matt Leinart fared better (which is a bad omen if your name is T.J. Yates) - 13/16 for 145 yards. For the Vikings the highlight was undoubtedly Christian Ponder. It's time then quickly for a bit more self-congratulation. My number one overall quarterback came up smelling of roses in this game. He was 10/16 for 83 yards and a touchdown, but most impressive was his running. He was feeling the pressure coming almost like an experienced quarterback and scrambled 8 times for another 61 yards.
On the ground it was still all about Minnesota. Other than Ponders running, two backs came of note. One was Alexander Robinson who carried 7 times for 48 yards and a TD. The other was Caleb King, whose 19 carries for 62 yards and 2 touchdowns got him cut. That's the NFL for you. Receiving wise for the Vikings, rookie tight end Kyle Rudolph stood out, if only because we were told how great he'd be and yet he caught 2 of 5 for 12 yards and a touchdown. For the Texans the highlight was second year tight end Garrett Graham, who caught 6 of 8 for 71 yards.
On defense the Vikings came up trumps again with three sacks, including two for defensive end Adrian Awasom. Rookie Brandon Burton also had a nice pick.
Titans @ Saints; Another highly touted young quarterback in this game, this time it's Jake Locker. And this time he actually looked pretty good as the Titans Brees'ed past the Saints (see Saints fans, that's what you get for being mouthy dicks). Locker was 15/17 for 132 yards and a TD through the air, but also scrambled 3 times for 39 yards and a touchdown, which sadly for the Titans was a team leading yardage.
The Saints let second year quarterback Sean Canfield (on last years rookie watch list) run the show for them, and he produced 29/39 for 249 yards, 1 TD and 2 interceptions, though one was just a bobble by the receiver. He was also sacked in the end zone for a safety by an unblocked Karl Klug. Joique Bell did provide some relief on the ground with 16 carries for 80 yards.
Receiving wise there was nothing special so we'll move to defense where Titans defensive tackle Karl Klug had his sack for a safety, plus one more, while the Saints D was largely absent as demonstrated by the 32 points the Titans put up. Special teams coverage was also a big issue at times for the Saints.
Steelers @ Panthers; It's the Steelers last pre-season game which means we get another look at Dennis Dixon. Oh god look away! 11/22 for 157 yards and a TD. For the Panthers, Cam Newton got on the field, going 3/5 for 25 yards and a TD. Jimmy Clausen was 7/17 for 87 yards and an interception. Derek Anderson was 11/19 for 192 yards and a TD.
On the ground second year Steelers back Jonathan Dwyer had 13 carries for 88 yards and a touchdown. The Panthers had nothing that special. In receiving the Steelers were lead by Emmanuel Sanders with 4 catches for 60 yards, with Wes Lyons rolling in second with 1 catch out of 4, for 38 yards. The Panthers meanwhile had some pretty epic drop rates. Leading receiver Wallace Wright caught just 3 of 7 for 51 yards, Armanti Edwards was 3 of 8 for 29 yards, and tight end Ben Hartsock caught 2 of 6 for 21 yards.
Defensively the Steelers came out with 4 sacks but not really any true standouts. Linebacker Morrty Ivy had 9 tackles, a sack and a pass defended, while Cortez Allen managed to knock down 3 passes. For the Panthers just the one sack and an overall pretty forgettable defensive performance.
Broncos @ Cardinals; This was Brady Quinn's chance to put to sleep all the talk about who should be the Broncos back up. Instead he left the door wide open with a 4/12 performance, for just 26 yards and an interception. Enter then Tim Tebow, and as supporters of the man like me rubbed her hands in glee, many around the country who have been ragging on Tebow for ages now bit their nails nervously. 7/11, 116 yards and a touchdown, including a 43 yard sling with the pocket collapsing around him. So what was that about Tebow not being able to throw?
For the Cardinals it was war between Brodie Croyle and Richard Bartel. Croyle was 10/16 for 104 yards, Bartel looked excellent though with 12/16 for 216 yards, 2 touchdowns and one interception. On the ground for Arizona the sole notable performance was William Powell , but only because he carried the ball 29 times yet managed just 60 yards.
There were some better receiving performances. Eron Riley of the Broncos had 3 catches for 144 yards and a touchdown, including the 43 yard TD pass from Tebow, as well as the sole short pass from Adam Weber, which Riley then took down the field with his legs for an 89 yard completion. Chansi Stuckey lead the Cardinals receivers with four catches for 99 yards and a touchdown.
Defensively the Broncos achieved the truly impressive feat of racking up 11 tackles for loss without actually getting any sacks (they had two QB hits)? The Cardinals D combined for four sacks.
49ers @ Chargers; See, this is why you don't risk a decent young player on waivers. The Chargers watched their rookie quarterback Scott Tolzein go 16/23 against the 49ers, for 226 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT. Then they cut him and the 49ers said, "that kid was pretty good, thanks very much!". Which I'm not complaining about because I'm a 49ers fan and I think it's one of the better moves that have been made by the 49ers.
The 49ers were determined not to be outdone for risky moves though, putting starting quarterback (I think) Alex Smith out onto the field. Smith was 8/10 for 45 yards. And he wasn't even the worse 49ers quarterback. That honour is reserved for Colin Kaepernick - 3/7 for 36 yards and 2 interceptions. That's a 19.6 QB rating. Nice one. What a pick!
Quarterback Josh McCown also got a shot at the field, throwing 4/4 for 51 yards. He then got cut on Saturday. I wish the 49ers would just admit that Kaepernick was a bad pick, cut their losses (and him), and if nobody does us the favour of picking him up then maybe put him on the practice squad? Please God, before he kills the team in a real game. That's Alex Smith's job...
On the ground, Chargers first round pick from 2010 (and on my rookie watch list from last year) Ryan Matthews carried 5 times for 78 yards and a TD, including a 56 yard run that he could have basically walked in, so wide open was the 49ers defense on that occasion. For the 49ers, Anthony "The Golden Mule" Dixon carried 13 times for 45 yards and 2 touchdowns, while rookie Kendall Hunter lead the team with 11 carries for 57 yards. The only real receiver of note was the Chargers Laurent Robinson, who had 6 catches for 120 yards. He was cut Saturday along with Tolzein.
Defensively for the 49ers Aldon Smith led the way. 7 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and another QB hit. That's pretty much the way to inspire the rest of your defense and thank your boss for taking you number one overall. As a group the 49ers had 6 sacks, 5 tackles for loss, 4 passes defended and 7 QB hits. Individually the Chargers didn't have any stand outs, but they managed as a team to notch up a sack, 3 tackles for loss and 6 passes defended. That's not too shabby. It's not great either, but this is pre-season week 4.
Raiders @ Seahawks; And lastly... ah Jesus. Raiders and Seahawks. No Terrelle Pryor for the Raiders (he's only banned from regular season games), but there was Kyle Boller, 9/19 for 101 yards. There was Jason Campbell, 8/11 for 76 yards and looking a little sharper. And there was Trent Edwards, 3/4 for 18 yards and cut in favour of Pryor. Ha!
The Seahawks also decided to risk their starting QB, with Tavaris Jackson taking the field and throwing 5/7 for 88 yards and a red zone interception. Charlie Whitehurst came on next and was 9/15 for 140 yards. Then finally Josh Portis to round things off with 3/6 for 42 yards.
On the ground there was really nothing special to note. Receiving wise for the Raiders there was still nothing much of note, except perhaps Derek Hagan going 2 of 5 for 29 yards. The story of the game though was Seahawks receiver Golden Tate, who caught 5 of 7 for 79 yards in a much more impressive display than we've been used to seeing out of the highly touted second year receiver.
Defense was also a bit dreary for both teams, though Seahawks defensive tackle David Howard had 1.5 sacks and defensive end Maurice Fountain had 2 tackles for loss. Yes, those were the defensive highlights.
So that's your entire round up for the pre-season. Thursday sees the start of week one with the Saints travelling to the Packers and for that I shall be posting Wednesday to make my pick, even though I said I was going to stop doing picks. Ah what the hell! What's the worst that can happen, other than the Texans, the Panthers, and John Fox fucking me over on a weekly basis. And the Chiefs. And the Giants sometimes. And the Ravens. And...
You know what I'd rather not think about it. Have a good week and barring any major developments I'll see you on Wednesday.